Greta Warren-Hill: Latest original oil. Strauss and Einstein were never to be found in Caputh (or elsewhere) together at a Salon gathering of writers and musicians, to our knowledge, yet arguably they represented the two most influential architects of Science and Music at that time in Europe.
Prolific and gifted to the level of genius, both men achieved an enduring recognition for their specific disciplines internationally and among peers, so it is only fitting that they should have the opportunity, so many years postmortem, to join in an intimate performance of Strauss' Die schweigsame Frau (Silent Woman), libretto by Stefan Zweig, although it is unclear whether Strauss and Einstein were vocally accompanied: perhaps somewhere next to you, the viewer…someone sang.
Just think! It's evening and the fire is cold.
You'll feel lonely, you'll feel old.
It's sad, it's awful, it's frighteningly still.
As if death were on the window sill.
- The Silent Woman. Richard Strauss & Stefan Zweig
Einstein, whether in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, or Princeton, lived for the opportunity to express the complexity of his thoughts – to free his soul - most memorably through Mozart's many compositions for strings. As the reader knows, Einstein loved the mathematical complexity and the passion and imagery of Mozart's creations and could barely contain himself when learning of an opportunity to join an informal gathering of musicians and aficionados.
Strauss, a composer of operas and sometimes complex arrangements favored by an international audience at that time, leaned heavily on the composition of associated libretti based on various poets and writers, like Zweig and Goethe and Nietzsche. Strauss' Tone Poems and Lieder were acclaimed for their virtuosity and unique expressions, as in his depiction of Cervantes' Quixote.
In that most troubling of times in Europe, music brought peace and understanding to an otherwise increasingly angst-ridden society. Both men, in their respective ways, strove to unite, rather than to divide, risking their freedom and, probably, their lives.
There are two bookcases: Strauss' bears the names of many of his works, while that behind Einstein carries a selection of references and notebooks. The blackboard is marked by the faint chalk remnant of the Einstein tensor and related calculations, concluded by the scribbled word, Stimmt, German for “Agree” or that is absolutely right – there is balance. (Perhaps it is a chalkboard illustration for Strauss and others in the room where minutes earlier Einstein had conducted an impromptu lecture on the subject of General Relativity, as he was always willing to do, for the benefit of those whose understanding of this truly, what was then a revolutionary theory, was lacking, ironically much as it is today.)
Yes, Einstein contended that Strauss lacked passion. But we think that was a remark on Strauss' physical display of involvement. Strauss believed that the audience's attention ought to be on the musicians rather than the conductor; compare that philosophy to today's fervent, animated orchestral frontmen whose megalothymia-induced paroxysms are themselves intended to be the experience, rather than allowing the music to enshroud the listener and occasion the mind to open to images and thoughts greater than any singular man or woman. Strauss was right; he was stimmt in his conservative lack of emotional display while conducting. And in his public life otherwise, he was equally reserved yet passionately committed to his ideals, and did not hesitate to place reputation or professional and corporeal existence on the table as confirmation.
Yet, it's hard to fault Einstein: passion was his life's work, in all aspects. He was a passionate peacemaker when young, and a devout humanist as he aged. His passion brought us revolutionary theories and clarity to an otherwise convoluted and frequently misunderstood universe.
“Never look at the Trombones: it only encourages them…” –Strauss (Allegedly a misquote, but worth perpetuating.)
On these two canvases the artist, Greta Warren-Hill instills the second and third installments in her series, BuchKunst (or אמנות הספר) or the amalgam of Book and Artcreated by the artist to meld both a passion for books and art into one coherent statement.
This piece was several months in completion: of work, of research, of reading, of immersing herself in creating the perfect image. It is a highly detailed, exacting, mesmerizing portrait of two of Europe's greatest minds.
The canvases are framed in an artistically created “Book” – an “open book” creating a diptych of the two images, pages 78 and 79, (from our frame shop) bearing the title of the work. Greta's work is the book – the illustrated edition of a moment in time that never occurred.
The frame simulates a hardbound book from the early 1900s with faux leather spine. The images are recessed and held firmly by the framing process (attached through the board backing, but removable if needed. Outside the paintings the artist has crafted simulated page edges. The back of the book is covered in cloth on the edges and has a hanging device affixed that will balance the piece easily.) Down the page you'll find her most unusual and stirring portrait of Stefan and Lotte Zweig in the moment after their death in Petropolis, Brazil, also for sale and recently reduced.
Dimensions are 48 inches X 29 inches with a projection from the wall of 1.5 inches; or, 122cm X 74cm with a projection from the wall of 3.8cm. Included under each canvas in an interior pocket of the frame, is a COA for this original work.
Strauss and Einstein, as pictured are offered at $12,018 (USD) and offers are entertained.